The former chief financial officer at one of the state’s largest school districts has been indicted on dozens of embezzlement charges Thursday.
However, the indictments by both a federal grand jury and the State Grand Jury were not a surprise since Brantley Thomas, III previously confessed in February to stealing from Berkeley County Schools. His confession was revealed a week after the district’s board fired him.
The State Grand Jury indictments claim that Thomas ensured district funds were wired directly into a personal bank account belonging to him and another individual. He was also accused of converting payments disguised as legitimate expenses to his credit card or personal checking accounts on at least ten occasions. Prosecutors said the CFO would ensure the district overpaid a vendor, then gave his home address for the vendor to return the excess money.
The indictments show Thomas became increasingly brazen in his activities — even withdrawing more than $98,000 in a bank visit to pay down his credit card debt on one occasion. Another time, prosecutors showed he wired nearly $90,000 to his personal account while he was purchasing new land. He was also charged with forgery for doctoring a district vendor’s address to match that of his credit card servicer.
The indictments reveal much more extensive fraud than district officials were first aware when they fired Thomas. At the time of his termination,, district officials cited the number as around $400,000 dating back five years. However, the indictments show a total of more than $800,000 misused dating back at least 17 years.